Triceratops skull in detail

Following a trip to the superb Oxford Museum of Natural History (much more to come from there with time) I have some nice collections of archosaur based photos which I can share. Many specimens were laid out in such a way that taking multiple close-up photos was easy and effective. I don’t known which specimen of Triceratops this was a cast of, but it was beautifully done and in superb condition. I thought therefore that despite the regularity with which this genus is on display in museums, many might appreciate a few details from up close so here they are.

8 Responses to “Triceratops skull in detail”

  1. 1 Mike Taylor 03/06/2010 at 8:00 pm

    LOTS of agreement on the awesomeness of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. For more detailed praise (and some nice photos) see this old SV-POW! post:

  2. 2 knirirr 03/06/2010 at 9:38 pm

    It certainly is an excellent museum, and only about 2 minutes’ walk from where I work.

  3. 3 mattvr 04/06/2010 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for the close ups Dave. There are those of us with access to regional museums only, with little on exhibit.
    I think the last time I saw a ceratopsian close up was when I was 4 and went to Europe.

  4. 4 Zach Miller 04/06/2010 at 9:43 am

    I’m getting mixed signals from this skull. The lack of distinct epoccipitals suggests it’s an old adult, but the structure of the nasal horn suggests a young adult. I’M SO CONFUSED.

    Maybe it’s a juvenile Torosaurus that hasn’t opened its parietal fenestrae yet. *snicker*

    • 5 David Hone 04/06/2010 at 2:59 pm

      Well it could just be a weird one, or one with some bits missing, or a composite. I’ve only seen one original skull so I don’t have much to compare it to, but there are enough of them out there that you’d expect a degree of ontogenetic / natural variation.

  5. 6 Nima 30/11/2010 at 8:19 am

    It’s the type skull of Triceratops eurycephalus (or at least a cast of it). It’s a big old adult skull, but has much less forward angle to the brow horns that either T. horridus or T. prorsus. The snout is also longer behind the nose horn than either of them.

    I recognize T. eurycephalus as a valid species, bringing the total count to three species. Zach actually is almost right on the money with his joke, T. eurycephalus DOES look like Torosaurus in some eerie ways, especially the horns and snout, not to mention the shape of the frill – I suspect this is because T. eurycephalus was a more basal species of triceratops close to the Triceratops-Torosaurus split. This would also make sense since the forward tilt of the brow horns is more moderate than the other “later” two Triceratops species, a basal trait retained in Torosaurus. From what I’ve read, the original skull was recovered pretty much intact, so it’s not a composite.

  6. 7 Christopher Collinson 20/08/2012 at 2:24 am

    Apologies for commenting in such an old post, but I just want to clear up some misinformation for future readers who may find this post and its images useful.

    Nima is, as usual, wrong in his assessment of this skull. It is most certainly not the holotype of T. eurycephalus, the actual holotype of T. eurycephalus being MCZ 1102, this skull at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard.

    Furthermore, this skull doesn’t even have a history of being referred to T. eurycephalus as it was discovered some time in the early ’90s, long after all species of Triceratops were synonomised into just one or two species.

    SCHLAIKJER, E. M.1935. “The Torrington Member of the Lance Formation and a study of a new Triceratops.” Bull. Mus. Comp. Zo6l., LXXVI, pp. 29-68.

  1. 1 Struthiomimus up close « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 05/06/2010 at 1:24 am
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